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Understanding Undergraduate Engineering Student Information Access and Needs: Results from a Scoping Review

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Informing the Critical Understanding of Our Users: Using Data to Develop New and Diverse Services

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


Kate Mercer University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16

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Kate Mercer has been the liaison librarian for Systems Design Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo since 2015. Kate’s main duties include providing instruction and research services to students, faculty and staff. Kate graduated with a MI from the University of Toronto in 2011, and just completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. Most of Kate’s publication history revolves around how health and technology interact, and her primary research focus is on how people are accessing, understanding and disseminating information.

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Kari D. Weaver University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16

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Kari D. Weaver holds a B.A. from Indiana University, an M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island, and is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Instruction & Teacher Education, School of Education at the University of South Carolina. Currently, she works as the Instructional Design Librarian at the University of Waterloo Library in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests include co-teaching, information literacy perceptions and behaviors of students across disciplines, academic integrity, professional development education for librarians, and censorship.

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Ariel Jocelyn Stables-Kennedy Western University

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nformation is one of the most important elements students need to thrive in academic, social, and professional contexts. Information seeking behavior is expressed in various forms, but at its core is the process of collecting, receiving, and discriminating amongst information. These processes may include published or unpublished materials, communicating with peers, family, or librarians, and may take place in person or in virtual spaces. It refers to the need for information, the awareness of what kind of information is sought for what reasons, how information is found, evaluated, used, and ultimately communicated by the original information seeker to others. There is bourgeoning increase in the generation of information as well as an increasing difficulty in determining what is a good, legitimate source. These concerns are intensified in technical fields, where emphasis is placed on finding current and relevant information over waiting for traditional information publishing processes to provide pre-vetted quality information. Resultantly, it has become very difficult for the information seekers, particularly those in engineering, to effectively access, evaluate, and use of information in various formats. From the perspective of people who guide access to information, and instruct in what makes a credible source a lack of awareness in exactly how engineering students are seeking information is a barrier to developing the most beneficial curricular and co-curricular educational programming. There is a significant body of knowledge on the information seeking patterns of social science and humanities students, as well as a small amount of existing literature regarding how science-focused students seek information, but there is a significant gap in relevant and recent knowledge focused specifically on engineering students. This presentation will summarize: • The existing research knowledge on how engineering students access, use, and understand information • Current gaps in the research and potential future research directions • How this information can be used to support and grow library programming in engineering disciplines This session is targeted towards practicing engineering librarians and engineering faculty engaged in curricular or programmatic evaluation. In addition to presenting results, this presentation will include a 45 minute summary of the context and results, and a 30 minute portion meant to fulful Levac’s recommend sixth stage, which is the with stakeholders. This consultation will take the form of a brief brainstorming and discussion session meant to identify practicing librarians ideas, and key take aways around the differences and opportunities present in promoting engineering information literacy. Attendees will leave the session with a stronger understanding of the existing literature, ideas that can be used to engage students, and a foundational understanding that can be used to develop new research directions.

Mercer, K., & Weaver, K. D., & Stables-Kennedy, A. J. (2019, June), Understanding Undergraduate Engineering Student Information Access and Needs: Results from a Scoping Review Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33485

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